There are many advantages to companies hiring independent contractors (freelancers), rather than employees. Companies don’t have to help pay taxes or health insurance for independent contractors. In exchange, independent contractors have much more freedom and control over their work than employees. They get to choose when and where they work, but a recent wage and hour class action lawsuit alleges this was not the case for workers classified as independent contractors for BMW’s DriveNow.
The company is an electric car rental service operated by BMW in the San Francisco Bay Area. Customers pick up BMW cars near them and drop them off at locations close to their destination. The company even worked closely with the city of San Francisco to establish designated street parking for the BMW cars under a program called ParkNow.
The lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit, Marcello C., alleges he and other workers were hired to drive rental cars from place to place, clean them, recharge their batteries, and make them ready for other DriveNow customers. DriveNow allegedly assigned workers in teams to certain vehicles.
Despite being classified as independent contractors, Marcello alleges DriveNow set their schedules and controlled all aspects of their workdays. The lawsuit alleges the company even required the drivers to pay part of their wages back to TaskRabbit, an online outsourcing company, for managing their payroll.
The lawsuit further alleges the rental company failed to pay minimum wage, proper overtime compensation, and failed to provide meal and rest breaks. Under California labor law, all employees are entitled to a paid rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours they spend working. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to an unpaid meal break of at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, the employee is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages earned that day.
Independent contractors are not entitled to these breaks, but since DriveNow treated its workers as employees, the lawsuit alleges they should have been given these breaks.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. Both the FLSA and California labor law require employers to pay workers one and one-half times their normal rate of pay for all overtime worked. According to the recent wage and hour class action lawsuit, drivers working for DriveNow were allegedly not paid the proper overtime rate for the time they spent working after the standard workday or workweek.
Under California’s Private Attorneys General Act, Marcello’s attorneys in the wage and hour lawsuit have been designated by California’s Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) to serve as a private attorney general in this lawsuit. The Act allows individuals to serve on behalf of the state of California to collect penalties from employers who violate certain California employment laws. In addition to giving plaintiffs more leverage in a lawsuit, the Act allows the state of California to collect millions of dollars in penalties in lawsuits filed by individual citizens.The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains, internet retailers and car dealers such as Petsmart, Officemax, Staples, Smart & Final, Apple, Walgreen’s, CVS, Urban Outfitters, GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch, Limited, Forever 21, PetSmart, Macy’s, Target, JC Penney’s, Lowes, Marshalls, Bed Bath & Beyond, TJ Max, Victoria’s Secret, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Best Buy, Home Depot, Apple, Best Buy, Sears, K Mart, J.C Penney, Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Overstock.com, BMW car dealer, Ford car dealers, GM car dealers, Jeep car dealers, Toyota car dealers, VW car dealers, Mercedes car dealers, Audi car dealers, and other retail chains and internet sellers for misclassifying employees as managers, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, failing to pay for time spent on security checks, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim this practice call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online. We have offices in Chicago and Oak Brook near Joliet, Rockford and Bolingbrook.